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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Practical Foreign Language Skills

There are many ways to incorporate foreign language practice into your daily routine. Have fun while increasing your vocabulary.

Books and Magazines
Foreign language books may be available at your public library. If not, check online sources for books in many languages. For beginners, choose children's books or books with English text on one side and another language on the other. The American Bible Society has a selection of Bibles in many languages. If you are a more advanced student, look for online resources such as a newspaper or e-magazine from a country where your second language is spoken. If you travel, check airport stores for print magazines in your chosen language. You may also ask a friend who travels abroad to bring back a newspaper or magazine for you. A dictionary will come in handy as you stretch yourself by tackling reading beyond a textbook or phrase book.
Music and Movies
Play a CD in the car or load some music on your MP-3 player in a foreign language. Even a DVD you already own can be a foreign language resource if you are learning Spanish or French; simply go to "settings" on the DVD menu and select Spanish or French as the spoken language and/or subtitle language, then enjoy your movie.
Human Interaction
If there are nearby businesses or communities where you can practice conversational skills in your chosen language with native speakers, take advantage of the opportunity. Attend a worship service in American Sign Language, Korean, or Spanish. Frequent restaurants with staff who will patiently listen as you order in Spanish or Chinese. Visit an elderly neighbor who is bilingual.

Opportunities to practice your skills in a foreign language abound when you know where to look.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Rain, Reign: A Children's Novel for all Ages

Rain, Reign by Ann M. Martin

I highly recommend this book for all children.  The story is written from the viewpoint of Rose, a girl with Asperger's, and gives insight into the thinking patterns of those who are not typical.  The story includes classmates who are mean and some who are nice--as well as a dog who brings them all together.

Rose is easy to love.  Her home is not ideal and some of her habits can be annoying, but she has a heart of gold.  Her love for Rain, a dog her father brought home in a storm, and her systematic search for Rain when she gets lost in a storm show the depth of her character.  Her character is really tested when she learns that Rain has a microchip.  Rose goes out of her way to find Rain's owners and return her to them.  I was in tears at the lessons a child can teach.

The author has produced a great novel for children--and for adults who work with children. It will be published October 7, 2014.  I received a free review copy through NetGalley.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Another Book Giveaway? Yes!

Persecuted by Robin Parrish is an action/suspense novel that could well be taken out of newspaper headlines in the near future.  The First Amendment is under attack, along with the rest of the Bill of Rights.

John Luther must choose to obey God rather than men when a law is passed that limits his television preaching ministry.  Even his friends are urging him to compromise in the name of continuing his ministry.  To John, however, compromise of the gospel message is not an option. When enemies of freedom take their revenge on John, it is unbelievably thorough and vindictive.
 
John the pastor must become John the detective in order to uncover the extensive conspiracy that is out to destroy him and silence free religious speech in America. The cost will be high, but no higher than martyrs before him have paid.

The movie will be in theaters July 18.  

To enter the drawing for a free copy of Persecuted,  just leave a comment below before July 22. 

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Advocate by Randy Singer: A Book Review


As a modern attorney, Randy Singer does an excellent job writing this fictional account of an advocate (lawyer) in the Roman Empire.  Historical fiction set at the time of Christ includes a believable story that incorporates Seneca, Pilate, Nero, vestal virgins, gladiators, and martyrs.  Singer’s main character is a fictional version of Theophilus, to whom the actual Luke addressed his account of the life of Christ and the birth of the Church.


Singer has written a page-turner that captures the spirit of the early church and the price they paid for following Jesus.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Ragamuffin: A Movie Review


Rich Mullins is best known by younger people as the composer of “Awesome God.”  He was, however, much more than that.  In this film, we meet Rich as a child on an Indiana farm struggling to please a father who can’t relate to his genius son.  We follow him to college, where he meets his best friend and his family--and a girl.  We see him question legalism, think deeply about how Jesus really lived, and put those thought into lyrics that till stir our souls.

This is no sugar-coated Christian flick, however, as it is based on a real human life.  And real life has struggle and brokenness.  Heartbreak, alcoholism, and depression were a part of Mullins’ life.  So was an amazing minister who helped Rich through the pain by sharing his own struggle and showing him how to embrace the fact that Jesus really, truly loved him unconditionally.

Music, of course, is woven throughout the narrative.  This is a movie that is beautiful, tragic, and triumphant.  I recommend it for viewing by youth and adults--and younger children with their parents so that they can discuss smoking, alcohol, and depression at an age-appropriate level. Worship leaders will want to see this movie for sure!

To enter the DVD giveaway, just comment on this blog post on or before July 14.  I will request contact information from the winner on July 15.  If you can’t wait to see it, purchase it now.

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Fiction: Child of Mine by David and Beverly Lewis


A kidnapped baby, a grieving mother, a man raising his orphaned niece, and an Amish nanny under the ban (shunned) combine for a story that is both romance and mystery.  Suspicion abounds, as everyone has secrets and nobody know who can be trusted.

Where is Kelly Maines’s daughter?  Her husband died before revealing to whom he had sold her.  Who is the birth mother of Jack Livingston’s niece?  Will a lead in Chicago be the big break Kelly has been looking for?  And just what is the Amish nanny’s secret?

This is a page-turner as you try to discern who, if anyone, is telling the truth--or who even knows the truth.  Does God have a plan in all this mess?  Yes, but it is not obvious to anyone for a long time!


I received a free review copy of this novel from Bethany House publishers.

Book Review: Dear Son


A father who only got to spend a few months with his own son has since become a spiritual father to many sons.  Pastor Dave Bruskas ministers to men with no fathers to teach them how to be men of God. This beautiful book is written in the form of conversations Bruskas would have had with his own son, who died in infancy.

Bruskas addresses in each short chapter one role a man must learn to fulfill.  He covers the roles of a man as a Christian, son, brother, father, provider, and much more.  The chapter on providing for a future family is especially relevant for many young men today, and Bruskas addresses the issue with well-researched career advice as well as spiritual encouragement.

Get this resource for church library, men’s ministry, or personal growth.  Men need fathers, and the church needs to help with substitutes where needed.

I received a free review copy of Dear Son from Tyndale publishers.